How to Win at Limit Hold’Em
If you’ve played poker for any length of time, you’ve undoubtably read strategy for playing in limit games. It might have even helped you out with a part of your game you were struggling with, or helped you see things in a new light.
But do you win consistently? Or do you just win enough to keep your head above water, showing a little profit in more sessions than you take a loss? Keep reading then, for a few simple rules that are guaranteed to transform your game.
But wait, you say. You don’t play limit, April. How did you come upon the rules for winning at limit hold’em? First off, who are you to come to my blog and question me??? That’s not how this works. Second, please – I know people, OK? Being friends with Hank makes you like a limit brown-belt or something. Plus, I’ve put in some time lately at the limit tables at Full Tilt, Titan, and Poker Stars – I’ve seen firsthand how it’s done.
On to the good stuff –
Starting Hand Requirements:
You’ve probably seen all sorts of different charts detaling out which hands you should play from certain positions, when to raise, when to fold, etc. But those don’t apply to limit. In limit the winning way is to play any two suited cards. Betting is capped before it even gets to you? Call. Flop 3 to a flush and betting is capped again? Of course you call. Over the long run, you’ll hit your flush, and one of those times, that 6 high flush will be the winner. That my friends is a little thing called EV, and it’s good.
For the advanced player, move up to the “any two cards” strategy. It’s fairly simple – see the flop on every hand you’re dealt. Occasionaly call pre-flop raises, but only if your cards are suited! Don’t worry if this practice eats away at your stack of chips – you’ll get it all back eventually.
Once you see the flop, one of two things will have happened – you’ll have a hand or you won’t have hit the flop at all. The proper move varies little between the two situations. If you’ve made a solid hand, bet it out and call any raises. If you’ve got a drawing hand, try and check for a free card, but if it’s bet to you, call. If you don’t have a hand at all, but you have high cards, try and check for a free card. Again, if it’s bet to you, call. People bet with all sorts of things in this game – they might not even have a made hand yet! Why should you dump what could end up being the winning hand just because someone is saying they have something? If your hand doesn’t improve on the turn, you still have the river.
Here things can get a little tricky, so be sure to pay close attention to this section. Take notes or something.
If you hit a pair on the flop, but you aren’t sure where you stand with it, due to a weak kicker or having just bottom pair, it’s a good idea to raise. If you get called, especially by more than one player, there’s a good possibility that someone has you beat. Does this mean you should fold? Of course not!!! If the turn card doesn’t help you, you still have the river. Remember, this is limit poker – cards are cheap, no reason to not see ’em all.
Turn didn’t bring your flush card? Betting is capped before it gets to you? No way you can fold now. The river will bring your flush card. If not this time, then the next. No worries. And if someone calls you a “donkey” or “jopke”, just laugh. They’re simply jealous of your superior poker skills, as they should be.
In fact, you know what? Forget the whole note taking thing. Just remember the key aspect of limit poker – you can always make a better hand. The test of a real winner is being able to see it through no matter the cost.
I hope these little tips help you with your limit game. Now that you know the winning secrets, you’ll easily spot them being used at the tables when you play. It may look to you like a lot of the players who practice these methods don’t stay at the table very long, but you can be assured they’re just leaving because of other obligations. Even a limit master has to eat sometime.